Breaking Down the WCHA Tournament: Quarterfinals

wcha bracket

The WCHA tournament begins with a best of three series hosted by the school with the better ranking.  The remainder will be single elimination played at the home of the regular season champion.  The highest advancing seed plays the lowest in the second round so the bracket above isn’t absolute.

Minnesota State at Wisconsin

wis msu

Overview:

If the WCHA were a best of seven tournament all the way through there would be zero chance that a team other than Minnesota or Wisconsin takes home the trophy.  It isn’t, but even with single elimination, the Badgers and the Gophers are probably the only two teams with a realistic shot in the top-heavy conference.

Keys to the Series:

Wisconsin:

Continue their system of a high volume attack coupled with stellar defense and goaltending.

Minnesota State:

Stay out of the box and hope Wisconsin commits a ton of penalties.

The X-Factor:

Ann-Renee Desbiens.  The Wisconsin netminder set an NCAA shutout record and if she’s on her game the Badger skaters can play with tremendous confidence.

Prediction:

Wisconsin sweeps.

Ohio State at Minnesota

min osu

Overview:

The Gophers pretty much blitzed through the WCHA en route to second place.  Ohio State was no exception.  The scary thing is that the Buckeyes actually did a decent job of holding back Minnesota’s 47.19% power play.

Keys to the Series:

Minnesota:

Score a ton of goals

Ohio State:

Try to draw penalties and take advantage of Minnesota’s mediocre penalty kill.

The X-Factor:

Amanda Kessel.  The Gopher superstar returned late in the season after sitting out over a year with an injury.  Her return makes an already stellar offense even more potent.

Prediction:

Minnesota sweeps.

Minnesota-Duluth at Bemidji State

bsu umd

Overview:

It’s hard to know what to make of the Beavers.  They swept the Bulldogs during the regular season, but none of the games stand out as particularly impressive.  They racked up a ton of wins against teams not named Minnesota or Wisconsin.  Odds are they’re good, but how good?

Keys to the Series:

Bemidji State:

Put up more shots.  This is a Beaver team that too often relies on their goaltending to win games.  If they can bring even just a bit of offense and ease the pressure to win every game with 2 goals or less, watch out.

Minnesota-Duluth:

Take advantage of the Beavers’ tendency to yield possession.  Pepper Brittni Mowat with shots and hope she has an off night or two.

The X-Factor:

Kaitlyn Tougas.  It’s easy to say Mowat, but we know the BSU netminder is going to be rock solid.  If BSU wins this tournament, it’ll be because their skaters stepped up.

Prediction:

Bemidji State sweeps.

St. Cloud State at North Dakota

und scsu

Overview:

This is the most intriguing of the WCHA quarterfinal series.  St. Cloud looked just plucky enough and North Dakota just shaky enough at times to think there might be something here for an upset.  Were it not for three extra attacker goals in game two, the regular season series would have been split down the middle.

Keys to the Series:

North Dakota:

Figure out whatever it is that makes them drop games they should win and stop doing it.

St. Cloud State:

Put up enough shots to be in the series.

The X-Factor:

Molly Illikainen.  The St. Cloud forward had four of their five goals in the season series against the Fighting Hawks.

Prediction:

North Dakota 2-1

Advertisements

About Alex

I am awesome.
This entry was posted in Conference Tournaments, WCHA and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s